The Governing Body

Overview
BHJS has a committed team of 14 governors who play an important role in the leadership, performance, development and everyday life of the school.  As governors, we are unpaid volunteers and are either elected or appointed to serve a four-year term of office.  To comply with new DfE regulations, our governing body was re-constituted during 2014/15. Our membership consists of:

  • 5 parent governors (elected by the parent body)
  • 1 Local Authority (LA) governor (appointed by the LA, but candidates can be suggested by the governing body)
  • 1 staff governor (elected by the school staff)
  • 1 Headteacher
  • 6 co-opted governors (appointed by agreement of the whole governing body)

All of our governors have equal rights to participate in the work of the governing body and to state individual views and are very much encouraged to do so, but we work as a team and are bound by the collective decisions of the team.   Governors may serve for more than one term of office if they wish to nominate themselves again (for parents or members of staff), or are invited to do so by the full governing body (for the co-opted and LA roles).

All governors are required to comply with statutory safeguarding regulations and are only eligible to serve on our governing body with clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service*.  
(* The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) have merged to become the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). CRB checks are now called DBS checks.)

More information on the role of school governor can be found on the Herts Direct website: http://www.hertsdirect.org/services/edlearn/getinvolved/governors/

What is required to become a school governor at Bernards Heath Junior School?
As individuals we each have different reasons for becoming a governor, we come from a variety of backgrounds, and between us bring a wide range of useful skills, experience and expertise to the governing body.  It is not necessary to be an expert on educational matters to become a school governor, although it is vital to seek to understand fully the role and responsibilities involved to be able to support the school effectively and enable it to continue to develop and flourish.   Enthusiasm, commitment and being a good team player are the key underlying personal qualities needed.  It is expected that both new and experienced governors take full advantage of the wide range of training opportunities and information available.   A record is kept of all training undertaken.

Underpinning all of this, governors at Bernards Heath Junior School fully respect the requirement to act in the best interests of the school at all times, being open and transparent, operating with integrity and honesty.    At the start of each academic year, all governors sign the Code of Conduct*, and complete the Register of Interests* in which any business or pecuniary interests are declared, details of any other educational establishments they govern, together with any close links or relationships between governors and members of the school staff including spouses, partners and relatives.  In addition, it is routine practice for any conflicts of interests to be declared if and when they arise during any governor discussions or meetings.  Governors are also very aware of all e-safety issues; in addition to ensuring that all appropriate guidelines, policies and procedures are in place, each governor also signs the school’s ICT Acceptable Use Agreement*.
(* The signed BHJS Governors’ Code of Conduct, Register of Interests and ICT acceptable use Agreement are available to view upon request to the school office)

What is our role? 
We work in partnership with the Headteacher, who is our principal professional advisor, to ensure that the best possible all-round education is being provided for all the children in a high quality learning environment, making the most effective use of the resources available to the school and in compliance with all statutory regulations and procedures.  Whereas the day-to-day management and teaching and learning are the responsibility of the Headteacher supported by her senior leadership team, the governors have a strategic role holding the school to account for overall standards and acting as “critical friends” by offering  encouragement and support, but also by providing honest and candid feedback - in short, by challenging constructively.

How do we work?
The role of school governor does involve a significant commitment, but our work is planned in a structured way to recognise and accommodate other work and personal commitments.   The full governing body has five formal evening meetings during the school year, and an additional planning meeting at the start of September.  All governors also work on one of the following two committees, which meet at least once a term:

  • Resources, with responsibility for all finance, premises and staffing aspects
  • Standards and Curriculum Development (S&CD), with responsibility for monitoring school performance and the provision and delivery of a broad, balanced and effective curriculum. 

Governors participate in twice termly meetings with the teaching staff through the Curriculum Leadership Teams, and take part in structured and focused visits during the school day to see how the theory translates into activities in the classroom and around the school and  hear from the children themselves.

Governors communicate with parents via a termly newsletter on a variety of issues, including notification of vacancies on the governing body, and through the annual Spring Term parental questionnaire.  We also meet informally with parents at a variety of school events throughout the school year.

There is a very high level of attendance by governors at both Full Governing Body and Committee meetings.  Apologies are required when attendance at a meeting is not possible and any non-attendance is always considered by governors and recorded in the minutes. There have been no occasions where meetings have not been quorate and no unacceptably low levels of attendance or commitment by any governor.  

All full governing body and committee meeting minutes are available to read upon request to the school office, together with full information on attendance at meetings over the past year.

How to contact the governing body
If you wish to contact the governors on a specific issue, or would just like to find out more about the work of the governing body, please do so via the school office by telephone, email or letter. 

Governing Body Profile 2016-2017

YAN ALDRIDGE  Parent Governor
First appointed 5.02.2014; Current term of office expires 4.02.2018
Responsibilities: Resources Committee member; Special Needs Link
Yan is Project Manager to Building and Bridges Consultancy Firm, working as a leader and a team player; has understanding of Health and Safety issues/concerns and Risk Assessment Management.  In addition, has trained in counselling, including drug and alcohol issues.

SHELLEY DENCH  Staff Governor (Assessment Coordinator and Class Teacher)
First appointed 6.10.2010; Current term of office expires 5.10.2018
Responsibilities: Standards & Curriculum Development Committee member
Shelley has 15 years teaching experience and been a senior leader for 8 years; brings a vast knowledge of the school to the governors and enjoys working with others to keep the school Outstanding; is able to justify decisions the school makes and respond to questions that are raised during meetings; is also able to explain and interpret the school's data. 

PAUL DEVITT  Parent Governor
First appointed as an Associate Member on 6.10.2016; converted to Parent Governor on 12.02.2017; Current term of office expires 11.02.2021
Paul has twin daughters who started BHJS in September 2016.  He believes he has the time, commitment and appropriate attributes to support the school maintaining its outstanding status.  His career background and experience is in assisting multinational companies to set complex business strategies, and governing the successful implementation and management of activities targeted at executing on those strategies.  He lives in the Bernards Heath area and splits his working week between St Albans and London.

JENNIE ECKETT  Co-opted Governor
First appointed 13.09.2016; Current term of office expires 12.09.2020
Responsibilities: Resources Committee
Jennie has a grandchild at BHJS and is retired, having previously juggled a conveyancing-based career at a local Solicitors with caring responsibilities for her relatives. Jennie volunteers for Carers in Herts in a mentoring capacity and has previously been a Governor at her own childrens' respective Junior and Senior schools in St Albans.

CHRISTINE HOOD  Co-opted Governor
First appointed 1.06.2014; Current term of office expires 7.05.2019
Responsibilities:  Resources Committee, Headteacher’s Perfomance Appraisal Committee, Pay Committee
Christine has been a secondary school teacher (Head of Department and Head of Year) for 35 years and Teacher Governor for over 30 of those years; has experience through her Trade Union roles of dealing with personnel issues, policy drafting and negotiations with Headteachers and Local Authority Officers at the highest levels.

JIM LAIRD  Co-opted Governor
First appointed 16.10.2012 as a parent governor; converted to co-opted governor. Current term of office expires 4.10.2020
Responsibilities: Standards & Curriculum Development Committee member, Designated Governor for Pupil Premium
Having originally trained as an engineer, Jim has primarily worked in the food and drink industry in roles including factory management, sales, strategy and general management.  With experience in some of the UK’s largest food companies he has a range of corporate experience in budgeting, leadership and strategy and combines this with the experience of starting his own business and working alongside entrepreneurs and starts ups, which brings wider experience of aspects such as grant funding, corporate financing and ‘the challenges of institutional decision making’.   Jim thrives in identifying growth and value creation opportunities and seeks to bring a supportive, hands-on and collaborative approach to the GB.  With three children who are currently at or have attended the Bernards Heath schools, he also brings personal experience of the rigorous processes, strengths and virtues of the school.

MARY LIMING  Co-opted Governor
First appointed 1.10.2005; Current term of office expires 7.05.2019
Responsibilities: Chair of Governors, Ex-officio member of all committees:
Her training and professional experience as a bilingual secretary enables her to bring a strong sense of structure, order and organisation to the governing body; she has built up a wide knowledge of the role of school governor having served on the governing bodies of both secondary and primary schools locally for nearly 20 years; she also recognises that nothing stands still in education, and strives to keep both herself and members of the governing body abreast of current and developing educational issues at school, county and national levels.

SIAN MURRAY  Co-opted Governor
First appointed 20.09.2004; Current term of office expires 7.05.2019
Responsibilities: Standards & Curriculum Development Committee member, Headteacher’s Performance Appraisal Committee, formerly member of HR Committee, Designated Governor for Pupil Premium)
As the parent of two daughters who attended BHJS, and having been a governor here for 12 years, Sian has seen the school go through many changes, including those in leadership, teaching staff, support staff and governors, as well as watching its expansion with regard to pupil numbers. She has been a primary school teacher in Herts for 27 years, and brings to the governing body a wide ranging knowledge and experience of changes in national and local education from several perspectives.

SALLY NISSEN Co-opted Governor
First appointed 16.11.2005; Current term of office expires 7.05.2019
Responsibilities: Vice-Chair of Governors, Resources Committee member, Headteacher’s Performance Appraisal Committee, SFVS annual check
A Chartered Accountant with more than 30 years professional experience.  With this background in finance, she has been involved in the Governing Body’s finance committee since she first became a governor at the school in 2005 and is able to offer a very perceptive external perspective to the school’s financial and accounting affairs.  

VICKY PAGANUZZI  Former Parent Governor
First appointed 12.02.2013; Term of office expired 11.02.2017
Responsibilities: Standards & Curriculum Development Committee member, Designated Governor for Safeguarding, for Children Looked After

CHARLOTTE PARKINSON  Parent Governor
First appointed 6.10.2016; Current term of office expires 5.10.2020
Charlotte has four children ranging from yr2 to yr6, giving her a good working knowledge of the school as well as a long term interest in its success.  As a governor, she would be a link between home and school, ensuring that parent/carer perspectives are always considered.  She has many years’ experience working for a leading children’s charity and volunteering with a local youth group, with specific knowledge around safeguarding. 

GARETH POUNTAIN  Former Parent Governor
First appointed 8.05.2015; Resigned July 2016 (personal reasons)

PAUL PRITCHARD  Local Authority Governor
First appointed 17.09.2007; Current term of office expires 7.05.2019
Responsibilities:, Resources Committee Chair, Pay Committee
Paul has a wide and varied range of professional experience including: 7 years of Armed Forces training as part of the Royal Navy as a leader in various lines, such as firefighting and emergency scenarios; 6 years experience in the building trade supplying equipment to both industrial and domestic sites; and for the past 22 years has been running his own financial services company advising clients from both the personal and corporate sectors on financial planning.  With such a wide-ranging background, pragmatic approach, positive work ethic and good communication skills at all levels, he is able to bring a wealth of knowledge, common sense and empathy to the governing body, as well as a drive to get things done.  He has also demonstrated his strong sense of wanting to help the younger generation through personal involvement in differing charity challenges to raise both awareness and funds.

KATHERINE REEVE  Parent Governor
First appointed 5.02.2014; Current term of office expires 4.02.2018
Responsibilities: Chair Standards & Curriculum Development Committee
Katherine has implemented web and systems solutions in both small business and a multinational media company.  She has been Chair of the Board of Trustees of a local pre-school and is actively involved in the running of the local branch of a youth organisation.  With two children at the school, she also brings personal experience of the strengths of the school and its staff.

PIPPA ROWSON  Parent Governor
First appointed 6.10.2016; Current term of office expires 5.10.2020
As a governor, Pippa aims to support the school in helping every child to achieve their full potential.  She has three children (Yr 5, Yr 3 and Reception) and is familiar with the strengths of the school and invested in its future success.  Before children she worked as a consultant advising companies on best practice HR and marketing strategy and hopes her skills and experience will be of value to the governing body

NIGEL TRESISE  Former Co-opted Governor
First appointed 5.02.2014; Resigned July 2016 due to work commitments

PETER WADSWORTH  Former Co-opted Governor
First appointed 1.09.2004, Retired July 2016

BHJS governing body also benefits from the expertise of two Associate Members: JOHN REYNOLDS, Deputy Headteacher and JANE CLAXTON, School Business Manager, who attend Governing Body meetings as and when appropriate.  Both as a governing body and school as a whole, we work in close liaison with our linked school, Bernards Heath Infant School.

We pay for the services of a Clerk to the Governing Body, who is employed through HertsforLearning.

How to contact the governing body

If you wish to contact the governors on a specific issue, or would just like to find out more about the work of the governing body, please do so via the school office by telephone, email or letter

 

 

 

 

 

 

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